On eliminating ‘being’ from the Creator

  March 05, 2022   Read time 3 min
On eliminating ‘being’ from the Creator
‘Being’ is attributed to beings either because [their domain] can be conceived as not-being, or because one thinks of a thing above it, which has dominated it.
As for the things which it is possible to conceive as not-being, they are those below Intellect, that is to say, those beings which turn into not-being and are under Nature. As for that which is above things, dominating them by the Command of God, it is the Prime Intellect. And that Form which is deposited in it, is the Form of Man (ṣūrat-i mardum), which is stable in its own state, [although] it may happen that it inclines to Nature, worships it and becomes submissive to it.
Be aware that the division here is into three categories: [a] One is a substance, which is neither being dominated nor becoming not-being. That is the Prime Intellect, which due to the Command of God is the noblest of all creatures. [b] One is both being dominated and becoming not-being. That is the form of the natural beings pertaining to the realm of generation (mawālīd-i ṭabīʿī) and the external form of the religious laws (ẓāhir-i sharīʿathā). [c] One is being dominated but not becoming not-being. That is the noble Form of Man, which came forth from the permanent substance, that is, the light of the world of Intellect. These [three categories of] beings are remote from the Creator, because He is the Maker-of-Being of the beings, as all beings came forth by virtue of His Command. Therefore, since ‘being’ is applicable to that which may be imagined as not-being, or to that which is dominated and forced by one dominant and powerful [i.e., the Intellect] above it, it is necessary to eliminate ‘being’ from God in every respect. Thus, it has been verified that to attribute ‘being’ to God is impudent, because the beings all became ‘being’ through His Command.
Further, he who criticizes us for eliminating ‘absolute being’ (hastī-yi muṭlaq) from God, while he himself eliminates the differentiated beings from God, [should consider this]: Once you subsume the differentiated beings [under a class], the result is ‘absolute being’. Indeed our adversary eliminates from God the being of the celestial spheres and the being of the stars and the being of the elements and the being of the realm of generation and the being of the bodies, substances and accidents, and the being of motions and rest, and every being that you may find among the creatures, all of them our adversary eliminates from God. Now, since [all this] differentiated ‘being’ may be subsumed under ‘Absolute Being’, it is necessary to eliminate both ‘absolute being’ and differentiated being from the Creator, so that God is far beyond both being and not-being, in every respect. Understand this!
Know that the attribution of ‘being’ to God is bound to come under one of two alternatives: Either He has no need for ‘being’, [in which case] it is redundant. And if ‘being’ is redundant because the Maker-of-Being has no need for it, then why blame us for eliminating that which He does not need? Or, [on the contrary] it is the case that the Maker-of-Being has Himself no existence except through being. [But in that case,] what difference would there be between the Maker-of-Being and the Made-to-Be? On what grounds would it then not be admissible that the Maker-ofBeing equals the Made-to-Be and the Made-to-Be, likewise, the Maker-of-Being? As a result, there would be ambiguity in our knowledge of the Maker-of-Being, the Creator, whereas we must be able to know the Maker-of-Being [as distinct] from the Made-to-Be. Thus, it is necessary to eliminate ‘being’ from the Maker-of-Being, the Creator, and to attribute it to the Made-to-Be, the humble servant, for it is the latter who is in need of ‘being’. Thus it has been verified that ‘being’ is not in any way whatsoever a necessary concomitant of the Creator. Understand this!